Monday, August 3, 2009

True Colors: An Open Reply to Food Not Bombs and Those Who Defend It

Shocking.

Well not really. The online shit-storm that has ensued (mostly on anarchistnews.org and facebook) following release of the "Open Letter to Food Not Bombs" was to be expected. When the oppressed stop playing nice, stop accepting their oppression, stop waiting for whitey to change, stop suppressing their anger, comment after comment the oppressor shows their true colors.

Many of you seem to grossly misunderstand the apoc identity/tendency/movement. I don't pretend to fully grasp it myself, but one thing I do know for sure is that apoc is not a homogeneous group or a singular organization. I am an autonomous, anti-authoritarian, anarchist person of color. Did you miss or misunderstand the adjective autonomous? I am no more or less apoc than any other, and I represent no one but myself. I do, however, stand with many other poc who feel as I do.

Some of you seem to think that white supremacy equals neo-nazis. I encourage you to remove your blinders. Please read.* Note that I've only gone to the trouble of including a link because some people identifying themselves as people of color* have repeated the colonizer's narrow view of white supremacy as reducible to and synonymous with the KKK, neo-nazis, etc... I would think the simple fact that the FBI recognizes the KKK as a terrorist organization would be sufficient for people proclaiming to be anarchists to question only seeing these types as white supremacists. Then again, I shouldn't be too surprised---a deeper view of white supremacy would mean many within the mainstream anarchist movement are white supremacists, and for those poc with this same view, many work with white supremacists. The narrow view is designed to make white supremacy hidden. We must not only decolonize our communities and our lands, but also our minds.

To those who were twitching and flinching at the tone of the Open Letter and could not stomach the anger it conveyed, forgive me for being outraged. Some question my intentions. Let me make them clear. I did not write the open letter to spark discussion. White people do enough talking. Furthermore, the fact that some are so "pissed off" is very telling. White people and even some poc will defend white supremacy and colonization in whatever way they see fit. This defense is to be expected and I did not choose their tactics for them. And to the white people that don't agree with my "polemical approach," who are you to set the terms and conditions upon which I am to speak?

Some have begun seemingly constructive discussions about what should happen to Food Not Bombs. Time will tell whether these discussions are genuine. One person wrote: " Are we attempting to inspire FNB chapters to disband/reform as more effective, truely radical groups?" My intention was NOT to be inspirational. I DO however call for the disbanding of all FNB chapters that are not poc-run. Community garden projects? A few people mentioned them as an alternative to or an alternative direction for FNB (and yes, I am aware that some fnb chapters put effort into such projects). I am all for poc-led community garden projects. However, if white people are going to participate at all in such projects, it needs to be by invitation only, period. White people need to stop inserting themselves in communities they don't belong in, and stop imposing their agendas on people of color. Do-gooder whities, please, get the fuck off my block.

To those who caution against wasting time critiquing food not bombs, white supremacy needs to be called out wherever it is (i.e. EVERYWHERE). I warn you, those who hide their white supremacy behind the mask of the "movement" are particularly dangerous.

To those who gendered me (and other participants in the CrimethInc. Eviction) in their comments, I resist your linguistic violence. I am not a "he." Take your gender binary and shove it. Fuck you.

Finally, someone asked that if I have a problem with white people I should just say so, instead of attacking Food Not Bombs. Newsflash: I DO have a problem with white people. I will always have a problem with the oppressor. The thing is, how could I then not also have a problem with FNB? FNB is after all a white dominated movement. White people generally, and Food Not Bombs specifically, anger me. My anger is legitimate, and I will not wait for whitey to validate it.

That said, and without further ado, those who foolishly assume that I hate all white people, and those white people that foolishly ask "what do I do then, since I can't change my skin color?" read this: Response to Comments on The Letter to Food Not Bombs. Oh my, a white person wrote that! What can you do? Shut up and listen. Get the fuck out of poc communities and give up power. You have no entitlement.

- Kilwaii aka KW (kay-dub)

queer, trans, autonomous, anti-authoritarian, anarchist, black, brown, and mad as hell.

---
TELLING QUOTES:
"how do we challenge oppression by just transferring power to another group?"

"FNB has nothing to do with white supremacy, and your argument that it does doesn't hold any water, to say the least. In fact, your argument is in a sense racist. Youre stereotyping against those who SHARE and not STEAL. I am white and I happen to be priveledged, so therefore I use this as a means to work with those who are not (and sometimes are) priveledged, and now there are lunatics like you who say that the FNB movement is racist. It seems like you are more apt to consider 'white people' the enemy, when you should instead consider the large gap in your logic."

"I've met both founders of FNB; it has NOTHING to do with white supremacy"

"The motherfuckin truth: Oppression sees no color, It fucks us all."

"after reading a few of the posts they put out on websites like this I was sure I would be chased out for looking to pale. " (poc)

"Yup those guilt-ridden college kids who admit they come from privileged backgrounds which they openly criticize really are a huge threat to POC in America." (sarcastically said by a poc)

"Got a problem with racism, go do something about it. There's no use appealing to other marginalized activists to come suck your cock for being born a POC." (poc)

"I like doing Food Not Bombs for the sole purpose of feeding hungry people. I like that hungry people get food. It is good for them. I don't care whether or not it "counts" as revolutionary." (poc)

"Go fuck yourself and die so we can start making sure food doesn't get wasted on loud-mouthed self-righteous pricks who could care less about the homeless and everyone else who benefits from bottom-up food distribution. You are not pro-working class and you sure as hell aren't speaking in my name you racist fool." (poc)

"it doesn't make any goddamn sense to chastise folks for invalidating experiences and then respond with the exact same behavior. white, black or brown, i'm not especially interested in engaging with leftists or essentialists."

"essentialist platformism"

"Seriously Kay-dub have you ever met a white-supremacist?"

" if you have a problem with white people just say it, don't hide it behind the guise of hating FNB"

"why not get black people to show up at FNBs mtgs and change the groups?"

"I got was "Fuck whitey, fuck EVERY whitey" and that's hardly something I can stand behind seeing as how I can't change my fucking skin color"

"
no one is forcing anyone to eat their food...if the people who go to their picnics feel that way i would like to hear it from them"

"its sad that writer cant express more of an opinion on the situation in sudan, south darfur, and nigeria..but i guess bitching about a group that try's to do something by giving back food in community is where the real argument if, if you don't wan't their food..dont eat it, but try explaining that to the people who go to those picnics for food."


* Note that I intentionally included the writings of a white anarchist. This was not to validate the idea that white people are the authority on anything (cuz they ain't), but to point out that at least some white people understand some of what's up. That said, I take issue with Chris Crass's perpetuation of the idea that white people can be anti-racist. They cannot. Please read: "The White Anti-Racist is an Oxymoron" and for a poc voice defining racism: http://www.euroamerican.org/library/Racismdf.asp

* As was pointed out by several people on the web, it is easy to misrepresent oneself on the internet. For lack of a better option, I am assuming that those claiming to be poc indeed are persyns of color.



9 comments:

  1. I dig the reply, and the original post. I posted a link over on vegansofcolor, and after reading this realized that I may have used the pronoun "he." So just wanted to apologize for that.

    --Royce

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  2. I disagree. I think FNB is full of autonomous individuals and autonomous projects. There are FNB's that operate as strike support for workers on pickets lines or who occupied their factory. There are FNB's that offer food distributions of unprepared foods, sometimes even grocery bags of staples, to anyone from working poor families to krusty traveler kids. There are plenty of FNBs where some of the 'consumers' become active participants, become empowered.

    I grew up dumpster diving, it was never introduced to me by some scene, but from poverty and necessity. That said, I don't hate on young folks (white or poc) who come to it through different ways. Will it end capitalism and white supremacy? Hell no. But as an example of mutual aid it is okay. Impefect, but okay.

    There are elements of paternalism and charity in FNB. Without politics and internal discussions, it can be quite a liberal, middle class, and white privilege-based project. But it can also be an empowering way for people to take take the reigns and find solutions. When you're really fuckin poor, with or without kids, you spend an undue amount of time trying to figure out the next meal, the next roof. But for those of us who have been through that not out of choice, not because we chose to 'drop out', it is an empowering prospect to take the search for food and collectivize it.

    And PS, that response by the white person is wrong on some counts: e.g. white supremacy hasn't existed for thousands of years. Racialism hasn't existed for thousands of years. Let's be clear on that. It has existed for perhaps more than the 500 year european colonialism of the Americas, but not much.

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  3. Thanks for the linkback and the apology Royce. I don't really consider myself a "fan" of anything, but I really appreciate vegansofcolor. Awesome blog! It was refreshing to read many of the comments on there about the letter, they were on a completely different level from the comments over at anarchistnews. Solidarity.

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  4. I found your post on the National Anarchist website, which I accessed through Occidental Quarterly Online. I'm curious how you really feel about self-hating anti-racist whites. My hunch is that you probably have as much or more contempt for them than you do for up-front racists and supremacists. From my point of view, I LOVE to see you tell the "antiracists" to bend over and take it. Of course, you can tell me to do the same thing, but I'll just laugh. But when you call them on their game, they cry. Pretty funny.

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  5. Reads like you're so far into your own subculture(s) that you've lost sight of any semblance of normalcy or what really matters. It's actually funny seeing Crimethincers, FNBers, and the luny/nationalist fringes of APOC battle it out, as if ya'll weren't irrelevant enough already. Looks like attempts at compensating. Thanks for providing comedy for me!

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  6. Just to let the shitbag author of this stupid blog know, I have no problem with black people - stop trying to paint anyone who disagrees with you who happens to be white as a white supremacist.

    However I have a problem with them personally, it's not the amount of melanin you have - honey it's you, I fucking hate you.

    Anyone who yells "kill whitey" is a racist dirtbag, you are correct in saying reverse racism does not exist. Just racism, you are a racist arsewipe!

    Fuck you, you personally. Not Africans, not African Americans, not People of Colour, not queers, transsexuals, not anarchists - you! You hateful, spiteful sack of shit!

    One thing that I've noticed around the interws is thatat most of the other black supremacists are anti gay and as such would hate you as much as you hate white people, you moron!

    As for the for the blatantly "white" supremacist nazis - they have no problem with you - they also dislike the idea of middle class whites extending any assistance to POC because they would rather ethnically cleanse them you, you stupid cunt!

    You're "Crimethinc Eviction" (in an Italian neighbourhood no less) is nothing more or less than cowardly bullying, you chose that as the site of your "action" because any other group of folks would have righteously kicked the living shit out of you.

    You are irrelevant mindless and infantile - you have given the rest of APOC an undeservadly bad name. Give up on politics already!

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  7. Your words struck a cord with me. Thank you.

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  8. There's dumpster diving union I think... If there isn't we should make one! I think it would be really cool to have public discussion and better coordination around this problem of white supremacy in activism.

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